But that won’t necessarily explain why I said something with which Professor Bainbridge might agree.
In a recent book review, I said:
These three novels are short; the whole book runs under 500 pages. But that’s something else I remember: novels running under 200 pages each. Now, the publishers think you’ll wilt if you spend $30 on fewer than 350 pages. Come to think of it, I would, too. Perhaps hardback publishers are pricing themselves out of the entertainment marketplace by keeping their book prices in line with that of video games.
In a post entitled Bloated Fantasy, the professor links to a piece that notes how fantasy has gotten bloated into long books and series:
Hear, hear! (Candidly, I even got bogged down for a while about midway through the widely – and appropriately – praised Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I’m very glad I eventually finished it, but a good editor could have lopped a few hundred pages off it without hurting the book one bit.)
I think what we see represents more the drive of the publishing industry, which needs longer books to justify hardcover prices and it needs long series to like readers into purchasing those expensive hardcovers than an inexplicable decline in good, terse writing.